My mother visited me this past week and stayed in our upstairs room. As the stairs leading down to the lower floor are both narrow and steep, I asked whether she wanted me to leave the light on in case she had to use the washroom in the night. Mom replied “No, I’ll just use the upstairs washroom.”
Which caused the following outburst from me “Did you not see the invisible “Police Line Do Not Cross” tape strung across the doorway? That’s Merle’s bathroom.”
Mom very calmly shrugged and said that she would use that room in spite of him.
Apparently it takes more than gigantic insects with a billion and a half legs to scare my mother. Resigned to the fact that I would be woken up in the night by my mother’s shrill scream when Merle made her acquaintance, I went to bed.
I slept soundly the entire night. Thus it would seem that Merle, our many legged tenant upstairs is missing. There are a couple of theories surrounding his disappearance the first is that he’s afraid of women with guns. While our dear friend who crouches in forests with bears at night couldn’t scare him with her knowledge and skills with weapons it would seem that my mother and her set of guns did.
My mother is not a firearms aficionado, however she does have guns. At one point when I was a teenager she was what most people would call a body builder. My mother claims that this isn’t true however the reason that she stopped was her biceps were as big as my head and this made my Dad uncomfortable. This was of course around the time when boys would appear on my parent’s doorstep ready to take me out for a night on the town. Traditionally this calls to mind an image of the stern father standing on the doorstep with a shotgun. However for me and my sister’s boyfriends my mother was the terrifying parent. She would answer the door, in a tank top naturally, let them inside then start flexing her biceps in the same style that Arnold Schwarzenegger once did in the “Mr. Universe” contest.
Ok, this may be a slight exaggeration but she would answer the door in a tank top then proceed to compliment the young suitors on their “muscle tone”. This would of course call attention to her muscle tone and communicate the unspoken message of “I can totally take you in a fight, think twice before you try and have sex with my daughter.”
This would invariably lead to the following comment as soon as the young man and I were safely in the car, away from my mother’s ears and her intimidating back muscles. “Your mom’s kind of jacked.”
Now there are two ways that a girl can deal with this comment. The far more common one is to downplay your mother’s fitness obsession with a slightly embarrassed “Yeah kind of” while slinking down in your seat. The other is to own up to it and revel just a little in your date’s discomfort; “Yeah, I wish you had come five minutes earlier, she was bench pressing my Dad in the hallway.”
I wouldn’t blame Merle for fearing my mother and her impressive one-arm-chin-upping limbs. Anyway, if you see a giant centipede with a billion legs hanging half out of a drain somewhere, he’s mine. You can tell him that my mother is gone and he’s welcome to come home now.